RGNF seeking input on two proposals in Summitville area

SOUTH FORK, Colo., January 19, 2018 – The Rio Grande National Forest is seeking input on two lands proposals affecting the Summitville area located 14 miles south of South Fork.

In the first proposal, a portion of the northern boundary of the Wightman to Lookout Roadless Area identified in the 2012 Colorado Roadless Rule would be modified. Approximately 16 acres that lie within and adjacent to the Summitville superfund site would be removed from Colorado Roadless designation.  The proposal would also add 10 acres of newly acquired lands to the roadless area, resulting in a net decrease to Colorado Roadless Areas of approximately 6 acres.

A 90-day comment period for this project began with publication of the proposed boundary modification in the Federal Register on November 30, 2017. Comments are due to the Rio Grande National Forest by February 28, 2018. See information at the end of this release on how to send in comments.

In the second project, referred to as the Summitville Interchange, the Forest proposes to convey 76 acres in 31 separate mineral survey fractions within and adjacent to the Summitville Superfund site to Rio Grande County in exchange for three County parcels totaling 71 acres, also in the Summitville area. The Forest is seeking public input to inform the environmental analysis. Input should be provided to the Rio Grande National Forest by February 22, 2018.

The purpose of the Summitville Interchange is tied to the cleanup history and future maintenance of the Summitville Mines Superfund Site. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (C.D.P.H.E.) and the Environmental Protection Agency have completed the construction of the infrastructure needed to remedy acid mine drainage at the Summitville Mine Superfund site. The remaining activities at the site include continued treatment of the drainage and placement of administrative controls to protect the superfund remedy actions over the long-term. 

The C.D.P.H.E., E.P.A. and Rio Grande County have been working cooperatively to update and formalize a revised long-term environmental covenant on the site.  The State of Colorado is unable to place a protective environmental covenant upon federal lands and so, together with the EPA, are requesting the transfer of these small parcels to Rio Grande County. 

Rio Grande County currently owns most of the non-federal land within and outside the Summitville Institutional Control Boundary. The County acquired the land in 2003 through property tax default as a result of the former Summitville mine operator declaring bankruptcy.  It is the intention of C.D.P.H.E., E.P.A. and Rio Grande County to have County ownership of all lands within the institutional control boundary to protect the superfund remedy under the environmental covenant. The County has proposed to convey specific parcels it owns outside the boundary for the federal parcels within the boundary.

The proposed interchange would allow the State of Colorado, Rio Grande County and Environmental Protection Agency to place a protective environmental covenant on all lands within the Summitville Superfund Site. The Forest Service would dispose of un-manageable mineral survey fractions within the superfund site in exchange for adjacent properties that allow for boundary consolidation by eliminating three private inholdings. 

Written comments may be mailed or delivered to the Rio Grande National Forest, Attn: Tom Malecek, 1803 West Highway 160, Monte Vista, CO 81144; by facsimile to 719-852-6250; or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Comments should be postmarked or received no later than February 22, 2018 for the land interchange proposal and February 28, 2018 for the boundary modification.

Additional information, including maps of the interchange parcels and proposed roadless boundary modification, may be viewed at the Rio Grande National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/riogrande/landmanagement/projects.  Contact Deputy Forest Supervisor Tom Malecek for additional information at 719-852-6225 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RGNF firewood permits are now available

MONTE VISTA, Colo., January 12, 2018 – Firewood permits for the 2018 calendar year are now available at all Rio Grande National Forest offices. The price of the permits is the same as previous years: $10 per cord with a two cord minimum purchase required. Firewood gatherers are reminded the 2017 firewood permits are no longer valid.
The current low snowpack means many roads are still open to wheeled vehicles. People driving forest roads should have good snow tires on their vehicles, tire chains, extra food and water, warm clothes and let others know of their plans. Roads may be hard and frozen in the morning, and soft and muddy in the afternoon making travel difficult and damaging. Forest visitors are advised not to drive on the roads if they are muddy, as ruts left by the tires will channel melting snow creating gullies in the road bed.
The most up to date information about road closures and logging traffic may be found in the Current Conditions section of the Rio Grande National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande or call the Supervisor’s Office at 719-852-5941.

Fire Officials Warn Fire Danger is High This Dry Winter

DURANGO, Colorado – December 13, 2017 – San Juan National Forest fire officials are warning that continued dry conditions in Southwestern Colorado mean that fire danger is a concern. In late November, a man target shooting with incendiary ammunition on private property adjacent to National Forest lands started a fire north of Durango that quickly grew to 60 acres near Electra Lake north of Durango. Fuel moistures are even drier now as we approach the end of December.

“Although it’s winter, we are extremely dry, and there is potential for fire activity because of our prolonged lack of moisture,” said Richard Bustamante, San Juan National Forest Fire Management Officer. “Dry grasses are very flammable right now and can act as a carrier fuel to quickly spread a fire even though days are short and nights are cold.”

The public is asked to follow these fire safety tips:
· If you must have an open fire outside, clear a wide area around it of all burnable material and keep a bucket of water, shovel, and other implements on hand.
· Never leave a fire unattended. Stir water and dirt into the coals until coals are cool to the touch and there is no smoke. Do not dump hot coals onto vegetation or flammable surfaces.
· Never toss cigarette butts out the car window. Extinguish smoking materials only in cleared areas free of vegetation or debris. Don’t park hot cars or recreational vehicles over dry vegetation. Exhaust systems can ignite flammable materials below.
· Off-road vehicles and chainsaws should be equipped with approved and recently updated spark arresters.
· Fireworks, including sparklers, are illegal on National Forest lands.
· Use of tracer bullets and exploding targets is illegal on National Forest System lands.

Drivers advised to watch for log trucks on RGNF

MONTE VISTA, Colo., December 4, 2017 – Visitors to the Rio Grande National Forest should stay alert for log truck traffic on forest roads this winter. Currently, there are six active timber sales on the Forest.

National forest service roads that have, or will soon have, log truck traffic include:

·         NFSR 514, 515, and 516 in the Black Mountain area near Brown, Hermit and Pearl Lakes.

·         NFSR 640, the Embargo Creek Road.

·         NFSR 28, the Rock Creek Road.

·         NFSR 118, 118.1c near Trujillo Meadows Reservoir and Neff Mountain until December 15.

These roads will be plowed as needed and open to the public. Drivers should always slow down and stay on the right side of the road when approaching and driving around corners. Additionally, drivers should look for wide spots on the road to pull off to allow log trucks to pass and should never stop in the middle of the road.

More than 600,000 acres of the Rio Grande National Forest have been infested with spruce beetles resulting in millions of dead spruce trees. The annual rate of timber being harvested on the Forest has more than doubled over the last 10 years in an effort to use the dead and dying spruce before it loses its value for commercial sawtimber. This increase in timber harvest has led to an increase in logging related traffic on forest roads.

To check on the most up to date road conditions, visit the Rio Grande National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande. The road condition information is located in the right column of the home page in the Current Conditions and Restrictions section.

Forest Service Hosts Two Virtual Job Fairs by Phone

LAKEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 4, 2017 – The Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service will host two virtual job fairs by phone for job seekers interested in working for the U.S. Forest Service next summer. Over 900 temporary positions are available for the 2018 field season throughout national forests and grasslands in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

During the one hour, toll-free call, recruiters will introduce job seekers to the U.S. Forest Service; provide information regarding available jobs; provide an overview of the application process; and answer questions 

Two Opportunities to Join In

·        Thursday, December 7, 2017 | 2-3 p.m. MST

·        Tuesday, December 12, 2017| 2-3 p.m. MST

Call-in Information & Instructions

·        Dial the call-in number: 1-888-844-9904

·        Enter the access code followed by the number sign: 7662084#

Temporary positions are available in a variety of exciting and rewarding occupations such as fire, trails, forestry, engineering, wildlife, recreation, fisheries, archaeology and administrative support. Temporary job opportunities are available online at www.fs.usda.gov/main/r2/jobs.    

The Forest Service is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture that manages 193 million acres of land, roughly the size of Texas. The Rocky Mountain Region includes 17 national forests and seven national grasslands located in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

For questions about the virtual hiring call, accessibility or to request an accommodation, please contact Lawrence Lujan at (303) 275-5356 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

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